Combahee River, Charleston and Beaufort road,
January 29, 1865.
We have had some rich sport to-day. Our regiment and the 40th are out here on a little reconnoisance, and making a demonstration pretending to be building a bridge on the river, etc. A party of Rebels saluted our skirmishers when they got to the river bank with a volley, but the boys soon drove them off, with no loss to us (or the Rebels either). We lay around a couple of hours shooting at marks, etc., when a party of the Rebels attempted to reoccupy their pits. We saw them coming for a full mile and they had hardly got within the very longest range before the 40th sent them back flying. Later in the p. m. half a dozen Johnnies arose from the mud and weeds and though they were across the river, surrendered to us. They are really deserters, though they say not. Had a great time getting them over the river. Four board and log rafts were made, launched, and put off after them. Two of them were wrecked against the bridge benches, and the other two succeeded in bringing over three Johnnies; we left the other three there. I certainly would not have risked myself on one of those rafts for 500 prisoners or 5,000 deserters. General Hazen of our corps has been made a full major general. The other division commanders only by brevet, and they feel a little sore over it. To-day one of General Wood's aids saw a turkey buzzard, and pointed it out to the general, saying, “there is a turkey.” Old Woods looked at it and answered, “I think that is a turkey by brevet.”
SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 338-9